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Apple is partnering again with Best Buy to increase the availability of its products. This time it's to help boost the availability of the Apple Pencil, a key accessory for the iPad Pro.
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With the holiday shopping season set to kick into high gear this week with Black Friday, Apple is making sure consumers can get their hands on one of its newest accessories, the Apple Pencil, a Bluetooth-enabled compliment for the iPad Pro.
Facing supply constraints at its own retail stores, Apple has once again partnered with the big box giant. Earlier this year, Best Buy was the first chain retail store to offer the Apple Watch.
While consumers interested in purchasing the Pencil, which retails for $99.99, can head to Best Buy's website to see which stores carry the device, it is, at the moment, only available for purchase in-store, according to a Nov. 20 report from Apple Insider.
When used with the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil allows creatives even greater precision. The Pencil was also designed to expand on the versatility of Multi-Touch, and lets users make any number of effects, down to a single pixel.
Apple has worked to ensure latency -- the tiny delay between when you begin drawing and the time it appears on the screen -- has been reduced to an almost imperceptible level.
When iPad Pro senses Apple Pencil, the subsystem scans its signal at 240 times per second, giving it twice the data points it normally collects with the user’s finger.
With Steve Jobs famously saying that if the iPad ever needed to be bundled with a stylus, then it was a failure, Apple's decision to produce the Pencil took some analysts by surprise, with many asking if the accessory was truly groundbreaking.
The iFixit crew recently conducted one of their famous teardowns on the Pencil to find out just what exactly is inside, and also compared it to the Microsoft Surface Pen, which is to be used with a Surface Pro 4 tablet.
The compact device proved -- like many of Apple’s products -- to be a difficult one to breakdown. iFixit tore a flex cable just trying to remove the Lightning Connector assembly and had to saw through the plastic casing to reach the metal structure of the pencil inside.
The team eventually uncovers the teeny logic board and associated elements that make the Pencil work its magic, including a tiny Qualcomm Smart IC data receiver.
Overall the company rated the Apple Pencil a 1 out of 10 for reparability -- the very bottom of the pile.
"The pencil is clearly not meant to be opened or repaired; you can't get inside without destroying the device," the report concluded. "The layers of plastic and metal holding interior components are impossible to remove without shredding. The battery, enough for a 12 hour run, is impossible to replace, giving the device a limited lifespan."
Aside from limited supply for the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard, Apple fans may also find themselves on a long search for the iPad Pro itself. The 128GB version appears to be in high demand both online and in retail stores, a scarcity only likely to increase in the coming weeks.
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Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio
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